Here in the states, about 40 percent of our food supply chain goes uneaten. Forty percent. The average family of four throws away about 20 pounds of food per person every month. That's a lot of grub going down the drain, and in Japan, well, they ain't having it. One seafood restaurant in Sapporo charges patrons a surcharge if they don't finish every last drop of food on their plate, down to the final grain of rice.
On the menu, it states that customers who order the signature dish -- a bowl of rice with salmon roe -- are subject to pay extra if they don't finish it. And their rationale for such a rule is spot on.
Evidently, the working conditions for the fish farmers are dangerous and can even be deadly -- not eating the food they worked so hard to put on your plate is not only a waste, but an insult to their profession.
And believe it or not, people admire this clean your plate club rule. In fact, restaurant goers like it so much that business has boomed in this one seafood joint, allowing the owner to open another one.
This isn't the first time we've heard of an eatery imposing eat-or-pay obligations. A restaurant in Saudi Arabia started charging patrons extra for ordering too much and eating too little.
Then there are Grandma's houses across the nation where a morsel of broccoli or, god forbid, a piece of London broil left on the plate could render its full eater a death stare and a threat of no dessert.
The clean plate club restaurant rule is something I can get behind. Not only would it save food waste (remember! 40 percent is thrown out!) but it would make ordering your meal a more conscious and deliberate effort, which, I think, would make the experience all the more enjoyable.
How do you feel about a surcharge for not finishing your plate?
Photo via UggBoy/Flickr